Over a week ago I drove to Somerset (south west England for my 'foreign' readers) to collect my Mother for a short break. She is 87 years old and suffers badly from osteoarthritis. She consequently doesn't get out very much as she cannot walk any distance, cannot climb stairs or even stand in one place for more than a few minutes at a time.
At home she is very self sufficient with many household gadgets etc and even a stair lift. I was extremely concerned about her being able to negotiate our stairs as even though with a modern house and downstairs toilet facilities she would still need to climb them every night for bed and to descend them every morning.
Although it fairly tugged at my heart strings to watch, I should not have worried as she was so determined to visit that she had practised at home climbing her own stairs by leaning forward on her hands and stepping up one stair at a time and only needing any assistance at all when reaching the top and needed to stand for the last two stairs.
My company, who I know I bitch about quite a bit, is actually very good at catering for carers and I was able to work at home for 3 of the 4 day week that we had in the UK last week thanks to a public holiday.
It was a pity that the weather was not any better than it was as Mum did not have the opportunity to sit out in the garden very much, but at least did have 10 days with us, which to someone who lives on her own and is over 220 miles away was a real treat for her.
I took her home again on Saturday which was as you may have guessed, the hottest day of the year and had wall to wall sunshine from the time we woke up to the time I got home again on Saturday evening. So what did we get to do but join in with all of the returning holiday makers in a 3.5 hour trip there and a 4 hour trip home again! Still the 3.5 hours was even more quality time spent with Mum talking about something and nothing and making her happy.
On arrival at her home I then did some odd maintenance jobs around the house for her, took her out to get her coming week's grocery shopping and had a lovely lunch sitting outside at a local garden centre cafeteria.
I also enjoyed my solitary drive home taking several country roads and lanes to avoid the even bigger queues, navigating mostly by instinct to rejoin the major routes when I knew that they had become multi lane.